November 2015 Posts

23. Goodbye Italy~ Rough Landing Ahead

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coming home

coming home

Pompei, Naples, Capri, Rome and Florence completed our stay in Italy. Our romance almost reignited in Rome but it was only a one -night stand to say goodbye. We both knew it was over. London, our final destination was shared on a formal basis and when our plane touched down in Boston K fled on the first bus to NH while I retrieved my car at my Mother’s.

The first few weeks at home were filled with catching up with the kids and sharing my adventures with friends. After a few days reality struck: I had no job, no prospects, and without the distractions of travel the syndrome of bingeing and purging returned with a vengeance. No matter all the promises to myself, saying I will not binge today, as soon as the door closed behind the kids I was eating everything I could find, as if in a dream, that only became real when I ran to the supermarket to replace the food so the kids wouldn’t get suspicious.

I decided I needed an “eating anonymous” group and penned a short ad, then brought it to the New Hampshire Times classified desk in Concord. When I handed it to the woman in charge she read it asking if I had ever heard of Womankind.

No, who are they, I asked.

Womankind Counseling Center, Concord NH

Womankind Counseling Center, Concord NH

She replied they were a group of women therapists who worked with women exclusively and believed they might be what I was looking for. With directions in hand I walked to their office a few blocks away, found the sign for Womankind, and walked up to their second floor office. I opened the door to an empty reception room but seeing coats on hooks guessed the closed doors off the reception area signaled therapy in session. I took a seat and waited. I was not going back home without some kind of resolution, even if it meant only learning where to look next. Soon two women emerged from one of the rooms. One put on her coat and left. The other, a handsome petit blond woman I came to know as Carol greeted me and asked if she could help me?

I took a deep breath and blurted out, as if I were exhaling fire, the secret and fears locked inside me. I ended by asking, do you work with women with these issues? Will you work with me?”

Carol later told me she had been stunned by my intensity, my fear and my need. To her credit she never let on but simply suggested I attend a group that met in two days and see how it worked out for me.

By week four of group I was learning not even this woman’s group knew how to deal with an angry woman. And I was angry. I suspected binging was eating my anger and purging rid me of it, albeit group therapymomentarily. I knew I had to get a grip on my anger, psychologically and intellectually. I might not be able to control my food abuse but I was in control of pursuing every avenue towards overcoming my addiction. I asked Carol to take me on for one to one therapy promising I would maintain my relationship with the group. She agreed.

Six months later I was accepted into a Master’s program majoring in the psychology of women, immersing myself in the politics and psychology of being a woman, an essential component, along with therapy, to freeing myself from food abuse. No one, and not all the money in the world, could heal me. Only I had that power. And, I was going to reclaim it!

 

22. My Amalfi Interlude

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road amaAmalfi! Who knew the drive up the coast was an adventure in itself. Up, up , up on roads so narrow and curvy that any oncoming vehicle, often a truck or bus, required negotiations between drivers as to whom moved first, and where, and with only a barely tire height barrier barrier keeping us from a precipitous drop. I breathed a sigh of relief when our car turned into the gates of our hotel!

 

blue seaThe view from the hotel terrace, looking out over a sparkling azure blue sea, was spectacular. I gazed down at the hotels, villas and gardens sitting on staggered terraces spilling down the cliff where, across a thin strip of road, sat a dark sandy beach with images-1striped umbrellas, chaise lounges and people, most of whom were swimming in the sea.

Once settled in our room I opened my luggage, pulled out a bathing suit, and asked K if he wanted to join me for a swim. He answered he’d rather relax in the room and read and would catch me up later. I grabbed a towel and a book and followed the signs to the pool.

poolA short time after settling into a lounge I set my book aside and walked to the pool’s edge. I dove in and swam a far as I could underwater. When I broke the surface the first thing I saw was a pair of feet, khaki pants with a towel tied around the waistband., I barely had time to see these belonged to a tall curly haired bearded man when in a blink of an eye the khaki pants crumpled around his ankles, and he deftly stepped out of them and into a bathing suit, dropped his towel and dove into the water, all done as gracefully as a choreographed dance.

Well, that was quite a performance, I thought, as the gentleman surfaced not far from me. He caught me looking at him and swimming towards me said “Hello, gorgeous day isn’t it, and this water is great”, all in a brogue that together with his ice blue sparkly eyes gave away his Irish heritage.

After a few pleasantries he asked my name and the reason for my being here. I shared I was traveling, and had recently toured Southeast Asia. And you, I asked. His response was, “you guess!”

The first thing out of my mouth, because he was so charming and seemed intent in charming me, was, you’re a gigolo!

“No, No” he said, with a lovely laugh and mischievous grin.

Can you imagine my chagrin when he said, I am Father Sean O’Reagan on leave from my post in Nigeria, meeting up with my sister Marie and brother-in-law Padrig to relax a few days and then travel to Rome. Come, they are sitting just there, at the edge of the pool. Let me introduce you!images

And so I was invited to dinner. While I did ask K to join us, he declined thus
leaving me free to enjoy a delightful evening of wonderful stories, laughter, and wondering why, in one way or another, the best men are already spoken for!

 

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